Trai ordinance tabled in Lok Sabha

An ordinance which removed legal hurdles in the appointment of former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi was tabled in the Lok Sabha today.

A copy of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 was tabled in the House by Minister of State or Parliamentary Affairs Santosh Gangwar.

Before the Ordinance was promulgated, the TRAI Act prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in the central or state governments after demitting office.

"The chairperson or any other member ceasing to hold office as such, shall — (a) be ineligible for further employment under the Central government or any state government or (b) not accept any commercial employment, for a period of two years from the date he ceases to hold such office," says the TRAI Act of 1997 available on the law ministry's website.

To circumvent this section, which would have barred Misra from taking up the assignment of principal secretary to PM, the Modi government promulgated an ordinance amending it.

The ordinance amends this section to read as: "The chairperson and the whole-time members shall not, for a period of two years from the date on which they cease to hold office as such, except with the previous approval of the Central government, accept — "(a) any employment either under the Central government or under any state government; or "(b) any appointment in any company in the business of telecommunication service."

Misra is a 1967-batch retired IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and his appointment as principal secretary will be co-terminus with the term of the PM or till further orders, according to an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel.

He succeeds Pulok Chatterjee, who served in PMO during Manmohan Singh's regime.

The principal secretary to the PM is a key post and acts as main link for coordination among Prime Minister's Office, cabinet secretariat and secretaries of ministries.

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